First, the good news. During a Senate hearing earlier today, Gen. Keith Alexander (in charge of America's Secret Cyber Army) said: "We have over 960 Ph.D.s, over 4,000 computer scientists, over a thousand mathematicians. They are furloughed. Our nation needs people like this."
Now the bad news. While the number of NSA employees is officially classified, in 2012 the NSA said more than 30,000 employees work at Ft. Meade and other facilities. In 2012 John C. Inglis, the deputy director, said that the total number of NSA employees is "somewhere between 37,000 and one billion" as a joke, and stated that the agency is "probably the biggest employer of introverts." In 2013 Der Spiegel, likely using source data from Edward Snowden, said that the NSA had 40,000 employees.
More from The Hill:
A government official familiar with the military's plans told The Hill last week that the shutdown would be unlikely to affect "core" National Security Agency operations.
According to the Defense Department's shutdown plan, intelligence and surveillance activities necessary for national security are excepted from the shutdown. But the document notes that "general political and economic intelligence unrelated to ongoing or contingency military operations" are not excepted.
So, the bottom line, the NSA has publicly furloughed about 6,000 people. It has about 34,000 more. We wonder: are the "introverted" NSA workers that spy on Americans (not to mention on their significant others using every method known to man), aka the truly "essential" ones among the 6,000 currently playing Call of Duty or downloading porn at home, or more likely, still in the comfortable and ultra secret confines of their Fort Meade headquarters?